“Star Trek” has returned to animation for the first time since 1974. Like it’s older animated sibling, “Lower Decks” isn’t the same as its live-action counterparts. It’s familiar, but the pacing of what we know of “Star Trek” is different. Especially in the case of “Lower Decks,” which plays like a marriage of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Orville.” Or even just an animated “The Orville.” That isn’t a bad thing, but it could throw some fans off.
This Isn’t My Dad’s Star Trek
At times, I found myself concerned about things the will enrage the toxic side of fandom. The opening credits of “Lower Decks” alone are enough to cause an exodus to get that first complaint tweet out. The command staff of the USS Cerritos seems incapable of even basic maneuvers. Even Star Fleet Command makes some interesting decisions during the episode, with Captain Freeman’s (Dawnn Lewis) Admiral husband pushing her to continue to work with Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome.) Yes, we had Beverly Crusher and Wesley on the Enterprise, but that is a little different. I can’t see it being commonplace to assign two members of the same family to a ship.
It’s Growing On Me…Get It Off
If you get hung up on the nagging points of “Lower Decks”, you miss the callbacks to the era many people think is the best. Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) is a lot like how most “Star Trek” fans would be if they suddenly found themselves serving on a starship. He’s in love with every aspect of his job and not willing to overlook even the mildest infraction of the rules and regulations. He’s asked by Captain Freeman to keep an eye on Ensign Mariner and report back any wrong-doing. No spoilers, but without Mariner and Boimler’s detour through questionable actions, the outcome of the episode would be very different.
Lower Upper Decks
“Lower Decks” might not be for everyone. If you are a stickler for the Rick Berman era of “Star Trek,” the show may not appeal to you. If you want a little light-hearted fun waiting for “Discovery” to premiere, then it’s perfect. Sometimes the best homage completely tears down the very thing it is building up. Who knows? By the end of the season, the Cerritos crew might be Star Fleet’s best and brightest.